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MOGADISHU Wholesale Washington Wizards Jerseys , Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The huge spectators cheered and applauded as the two teams entered the pitch to play football match in the newly-renovated but once war-ravaged Banadir Stadium in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The match between Jenyo and Elman is among the hottest in the tournament and the stadium is packed to capacity.
As the referee whistles the start of the match the crowd comes to live as they encouraging players of the team they support.
Muse Jama, a football fan and supporter of Jenyo, said the return of football to Mogadishu shows the love for the game and that the city is changing for the better.
"This is a clear sign that people of Mogadishu and the country in general are encouraged by the relative peace and stability and this match is a sign of it," Jama told Xinhua.
The Banadir football stadium has been base for the warring sides and has been extensively damaged but the stadium has been renovated and refitted with an artificial turf with funds from FIFA.
Football is one of the most popular sports in Somalia and has been played in the horn of Africa nation for decades even during the height of the conflict youths would arrange matches between neighborhoods.
But this is the first time the country's top level league played in Mogadishu in nearly 30 years.
"Football is a favorite sports in Somalia as much of Africa and youths play it because the game is accessible to vast majority of them. It does not take much to play it Wholesale Utah Jazz Jerseys ," Harun Mahmoud, a former footballer who was watching the game, said.
Football and sports in general had their dark days in Somalia as the radical Islamist group of Al Shabaab banned the playing and watching of sports in areas under their control including Mogadishu until they were ousted from the capital and much of the south-centre of the country back in 2011.
People could face severe punishment if they were found to have breached the ban with some receiving lashings for simply watching football or playing it.
Somali government said sports and particularly football was a tool for 'peace and development' and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud this week officially opened the Somali football league in Mogadishu.
President Hassan said football was a "powerful symbol of the transformation in Somalia from terrorism to peace".
At Banadir stadium women were also watching the match and were passionate about football as much as men and were cheering their respective teams.
"I come to watch the matches and am supporter of Elman. They are my favorite team. I am really pleased to have this opportunity to watch football in peace and without fear," Hamdi Ali said as she watched the match at the stadium.
Residents of Mogadishu are hopeful that other sports will also return after other sports facilities throughout the country are renovated or new ones built.
Recently Somali government said it had agreement with Chinese government to help renovate and rehabilitate previously Chinese funded projects including Mogadishu Stadium Wholesale Toronto Raptors Jerseys , the biggest sports facility in Somalia.
"I have no doubt that sports has a crucial role to play in helping peace and stability in Somalia and that once you see that people are attending sports you know we are close to ending the conflict nightmare. This is a good sign," Yahya Guled, a football fan in Mogadishu said.
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